9 Data Points to Consider BEFORE Updating Your Website 

Data points to consider before updating your website

When you want to update your website, your first instinct may be to hire a developer or a designer to help you sketch it out and code it up.

While this approach may lead to an attractive website, it may not be effective in converting leads (which is why most websites exist).

To avoid that common mistake, simply look at the data first, which will help you make smarter decisions when it comes to updating the structure and content of your new site.

But what data? And how do you even collect or analyze it?

As a Conversion Copywriter, part of my job is to collect and analyze data to help my clients make smarter decisions around content.

Some of the data points I use are fast, cheap and easy to collect, while others take more time and investment to capture; below I review 9 of my favorites and how/why you should consider collecting them before your next big web update.

Let’s dive in!

Dataset #1: Low-hanging fruit (easiest and most inexpensive to collect)

If you’re running a business, you should have Google Analytics set up on your site, which is a very simple and free way to learn more about the people visiting your site.

On a similar note, you should also have some kind of customer feedback collection happening, like automatically requesting a rating and/or review from your customers (i.e. – NPS score/feedback, Shopify review, etc).

This is especially important if you’re on a tighter budget, as you can rely on free tools (or nearly free tools) to collect some of the data you need to shape your updated web/content strategy.


Easy to find / collect

Inexpensive (or free) to collect


May not be as valuable or insightful

Doesn’t give you the “full picture”

Google analytics

The easiest way to get a better understanding of who your customers are, where they’re coming from, and what they’re doing on your site is by looking at your own Google Analytics (GA).

While GA provides you with a wide dataset, these are the main data points I like to consider when updating (or creating) a website:


You want to get a sense of your current traffic (or past traffic) so you can compare changes when the updates are complete.

Conversion rate

Similar to traffic, you also want to get a sense of your current conversion rate so you can see if your new updates are more or less effective in terms of conversion.

Referral sources

This is an important data point, as it gives you insight into who your customers are, what brought them to you, and where they are in the sales funnel (which will help guide you in terms of content, page length, etc).


While you should always be optimizing for all device experiences, it may be helpful to know if, for example, 75% of your leads are coming from desktop vs mobile (or vice versa), as that can impact the length of your pages, content placement, and more.

Top pages visited 

This will tell you what kind of content is attractive, helpful, and relevant to leads, which could potentially impact any changes you make to your website (i.e. – removing, adding or moving content).

Testimonials / Reviews / NPS scores

If you can’t afford to conduct full-blown customer interviews, looking at your testimonials, reviews, and NPS scores can help you get a better sense of who your customers are, what they like, what they don’t like, and so on.

Reviews and testimonials are also particularly important for capturing “voice of customer data,” which is what you’ll want to use when updating the copy and content on your site.

When I’m mining reviews for voice of customer data, I like to have one tab open with all of the reviews on one side of the screen and my “Notes” app open on the other side, so I can easily copy and paste any interesting words, phrases, or language that I’d like to repurpose later when it’s time to update the copy on the new site.

Don’t have any reviews?

No problem — just head over to Amazon (or another relevant site that sells a similar product) and check out what their customers are saying in the reviews. While it may not be your product, the product and/or target audiences may be similar enough that you can still glean some valuable insights.

Dataset #2: Middle of the Road (some setup and spend is required, but still relatively easy to do)

For my projects, I always recommend Hotjar because it’s easy to install/use and they also offer a 15-day free trial, allowing you to try it out for a bit before fulling committing (although, after seeing the data come in, you’ll probably want to keep it around).

Hotjar also offers a variety of really useful tools in one software system, allowing you to run a whole bunch of tests and collect different types of data, which all adds up to a more complete picture of your customers.


Easy to set up

Data is collected automatically

User-friendly / you don’t have to be “tech-savvy”

Can give you a lot of information you wouldn’t otherwise know

Usually comes with a free trial of some kind (depends on the software)


Costs money (especially if you want to keep the tools longterm)

Takes time to go through all of the data


While there are many types of heatmaps (click, move, scroll), the general idea is to visually represent your visitor’s behavior so you can understand what they’re looking for, what they are care about, what they don’t care about, and so on.

Heatmaps are generally focused on where users click, move, and scroll, allowing you to get a visual representation of their motivations and desires.

Visitor recordings

A visitor recording is just what it sounds like — it’s a tool that records the clicks, taps and mouse movements of real visitors coming to your site.

While it may sound a little creepy at first, observing how visitors navigate through your site allows you to see how your visitors think, their natural inclinations in terms of navigation, where issues may be happening, and more.

Feedback polls

Feedback polls are those little surveys that pop up on sites and ask you specific questions about your experience.

An on-site poll usually pops up seconds or minutes into your visit and asks you a pointed question like, “what brings you here today?” or “how did you hear about our site?” or another type of question that allows you to understand visitors’ motivations, intent, and desires.

An exit poll, on the other hand, pops up when you’re about to leave a site and might ask you something like, “was this page useful?” or more directly, “why are you leaving?” which can help you understand if your website (or content, or whatever) is actually useful to your visitors.

5-second tests

If you’d like to get a better sense of clarity, first impressions or recall, a 5-second test can be useful, especially if you’re already in the process of updating your site.

As the name alludes, users are given 5 seconds to view a design. Before the test, they’re usually given some kind of “primer” that helps provide context; after the test, they answer a few simple questions, for example:

  • What is the purpose of the page?
  • What are the main elements you can recall?
  • Who do you think the intended audience is?
  • Did the design/brand appear trustworthy?
  • What was your impression of the design?

While 5-second tests aren’t a perfect science (i.e. – the person taking the test may not have the same level of awareness, intent, etc as a real life scenario), they can, at the very least, help you understand if your message is clear.

Recently, I discovered a somewhat similar tool, Guess the Product, which is a free tool that gives users 10 seconds to view a landing page then asks them questions like, “what are your first impressions?” and can you describe what service this page offers?” and so on.

With Guess the Product, you can either submit your landing page for review or you can join as a user and share feedback for other pages.

Dataset #3: The Mecca of Data (more effort and spend is required to capture, but it’s often the most rich & valuable)

There’s a reason big companies like P&G and Unilever invest so heavily in market research — it works!

While it’s true that conducting interviews and surveys can be more of a drain on your time and resources, the end result — incredibly targeted, highly detailed information about your customers — is well worth the investment.


Usually the most rich in terms of insights

Typically the most valuable in terms of ideas, insights & execution


More time/effort is required to capture

Usually more expensive (because it’s so time-intensive)

Stakeholder interviews

Typically, a stakeholder interview is a one-on-one interview with members of your internal team, including the founders, the executive team, managers, or anyone else whose opinion and perspective you want to hear.

Stakeholder interviews are important because you and your team are full of insights about your customers. You are the ones interacting with your customers day in and day out, so it’s natural for someone like me to want to extract that valuable information.

That being said, stakeholder interviews can also reveal misconceptions or misbeliefs about your customers that cannot be fully known or understood until conducting customer interviews or user tests.

For example, based on your experience, you may believe your customers like your new UI changes, but upon further investigation (meaning, customer interviews or user tests), you learn that many find the new update confusing or difficult to navigate.

User testing

User tests can vary in terms of execution, but typically they involve giving a user a specific task, observing them while they do it (if your product is digital, this would be done via screen-share recording), then asking questions about their experience to help you better understand their beliefs, thought processes, motivations, and more.

For example, let’s say you’re a hotel chain that’s thinking about updating your checkout flow. Before you make any changes, it would be smart to conduct some tests where you ask the users to imagine they’re trying to reserve a hotel room for an upcoming trip, then send them onto your site and see how they would do that.

Conducting a test like this would allow you to see how a user may naturally navigate around your site, where he/she/they might expect certain information to be, and what’s missing from your current flow that could enhance the overall experience (and lead to higher conversion rates).

Customer interviews

Customer interviews are one-on-one conversations with a select group of your customers.

While customer interviews are great for helping you get more insight into who your customers are and what they do (or do not) care about, they are also incredibly helpful for understanding how your customers think, behave, and communicate, which can be used later when you make choices around website content and language.

Who you choose to interview depends entirely on the project and the goals you’re trying to achieve. For example, if you want to improve the conversion rates for your free trial, it would make sense to interview customers who DID upgrade during the free trial, as well as users who did NOT upgrade.

The goal is to understand both perspectives, so you can optimize the experience to fit the needs of both groups.

While it may make sense to conduct these interviews yourself, bringing in a 3rd party will allow your customers to speak openly and honestly, revealing things they may never have told you or your team directly.

Personally, I conduct my interviews over Zoom audio calls, but some companies prefer to do them in person or via video conference. If you’re looking for guidance on how to come up questions for your customer interviews, check out this article here.

If you’d like to learn more about transforming customer data and insights into effective copy, check out this article here.

Never update your website without data!

As you can see, using data to inform your website structure, design or copy is far better than relying on guesswork or what you think is best based on a gut feeling or some other intangible metric.

While any of the data points above are useful, they are most effective when used together as they will give you a more complete picture of your customers, their goals, challenges, and how your website fits in to that equation.

If you need help conducting research before your next website update, reach out and let me know: annie1maguire@gmail.com.

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